In last week's (March 20) Medfield Hometown Weekly newspaper, there was a "Letter to the Editor" regarding the Clark Tavern. In today's edition (March 27) of the Medfield Hometown Weekly, you will find a "Letter to the Editor" from me in response to it. Here is what was published:
I am writing in response to a “Letter to the Editor” published in the March 20th edition of the Medfield Hometown Weekly.
The headline read, “Resident urges other options to be taken for historic Clark Tavern” written by Scott Perkins.
Mr. Perkins has every right to his opinions, but his letter reads as if he is stating only factual information. His letter also gives the reader a very negative image of this project. I believe he is trying to convince the residents of Medfield that the owners of the Clark Tavern do not care about the historical significance of the structure or the interior, and my reason in writing is to dispel this notion and shed some light on the Linnert’s vision for this project. I took it upon myself to contact the Linnerts, and this is what I was told. It is quite different than what Mr. Perkins has described in his letter.
The Linnerts are “truly committed to maintaining the historical integrity of the Clark Tavern”. The Tavern's history was the primary motivation for purchasing the property. They wanted to return the Tavern to its original use by providing a tavern for eating and gathering, a bed and breakfast for lodging and function space for members of the community to hold important meetings and celebrations. As has been indicated, there is not a current request for the bed and breakfast use, but this is only because the abutters challenged with the Town by-law indicating that the inn must be owner occupied. The original plan had space for only four rooms for lodging....not a large inn.
In order to have any business function in the building many updates are necessary to bring the building to building codes and ADA compliance. The Linnerts' plan is to keep as much of the interior intact as possible. They are consulting with restoration and preservation experts on how best to approach these updates, including how to repair the roof using traditional post and beam construction versus current construction methods. All modifications, inside and out, will work toward a reflective of period style. Interior plans, including floors, molding, fire places, mantles, built in cabinets, and even wall hooks and hardware, like nails and such, have been saved and will be reused to keep it authentic. The vision they have for the Tavern is to be “rustic and traditional” and when complete, should have an antique feel, as it would have back in Seth Clark’s day.
Mr. Perkins’ comments about demolition are just not accurate. I was told that the kitchen will be an addition onto the back of the building, just as other changes to the Tavern were made throughout its history, as Mr. Perkins’ makes mention to. Also, I was told there is a shed attached to the rear of the current kitchen that will be detached and relocated a few feet away to the side of the Tavern near the Peak House, but is not going to be demolished, again, as I was led to believe in Mr. Perkins’ letter.
He states that this project will amount to “a restaurant with little historical parallel…..(with) a state-of-the-art kitchen". After speaking with the Linnerts, it is clear to me that Mr. Perkins comments are inaccurate and unfair. At each of the board meetings they have provided the layouts, project boards, and revisions to this plan. The “decorative choices” clearly show their intention and vision is to recreate the feel of the original Clark Tavern.
Documents are on file at the Town Hall for anyone to review for more specific information regarding this plan and vision and I would encourage anyone that has interest in this project to take a look at these documents.
The Linnerts are also very willing to speak directly to any resident or abutter about their plan. Feel free to contact them, as they would be happy to describe their vision.
The bottom line is this…the Linnerts purchased this structure and property because they fell in love with it and with the vision they have for it.
The changes to the plans over the last several months have been done in an attempt to meet the abutters' concerns, not due to a lack of appropriate planning. Mr. Perkins suggests that the Town purchase the Tavern or that a non-profit is formed to purchase and restore the Tavern. It is a suggestion that is easy to make, but in my opinion, doesn’t make any sense. Why would the residents of Medfield consider this notion, when there is already a plan proposed for the Tavern, and it is being fully funded by the property owners with private dollars?
The facts are, the Linnerts have a vision for the Tavern and are committed to it. I believe once this project is complete, the Clark Tavern will ultimately be the “historic gem” that Mr. Perkins refers to, and it will also prove to be a true asset to the Town of Medfield and its residents.